HUMN 3062 Napoleon: the Making of a Legend

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102343

Coordinator Simon Burrows Opens in new window

Description This subject appraises the achievement of Napoleon Bonaparte and the manner in which he has been portrayed in his own propaganda, by his contemporaries and by historians. It also considers the historical impact of the Napoleonic and anti-Napoleonic myths in the history of France and Europe. At the heart of the module is the paradox of Napoleon's enduring popularity in France, despite his responsibility for crushing defeats in 1812-1814 and again 1815.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline History

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

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Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject


Successful completion of 60 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the main features of the career of Napoleon Bonaparte
  2. Critically evaluate historiographical debates concerning Napoleon's historical significance, reputation and legacy
  3. Present historical evidence and argument in a recorded oral presentation
  4. Discuss the importance of myth in history
  5. Demonstrate skills at interpreting historical primary source documents
  6. Present, analyse and synthesise historical evidence and argument in written form.

Subject Content

1. Napoleon Bonaparte's political career and policies in France and abroad; his attempts to control his own image; the Napoleonic legends; Bonapartism and its legacy after 1815.
2. Historical and contemporary images and interpretations of Napoleon;
3. The circumstances of Napoleon's rise;
4. Napoleon's claims to be a great general and how his victories were achieved;
5. Napoleonic diplomacy and whether he was personally responsible for the persistent warfare of the period 1799-1815;
6. The nature of Napoleonic imperialism; and whether Napoleon's rule in France might be considered enlightened or socially reactionary;
7. Napoleon's claims to liberalism and the appeal of the Napoleonic legend.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Presentation 5 minutes 25 N Individual
Peer Review 2,000 words 25 N Individual
Final Exam 2 hours 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Philip G. Dwyer, ed., Napoleon and Europe (Longman, 2001)

Teaching Periods

Spring (2024)

Bankstown City


Subject Contact Simon Burrows Opens in new window

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Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Simon Burrows Opens in new window

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